Archive for November, 2011

November 29, 2011

Havana Cultura & Gilles Peterson in the Sugar Factory in Amsterdam

Have you ever heard of Gilles Peterson? You might “know” him, just like me, as Jazz-dj with a great taste of music,saying; This is Worldwide,  from London to Japan…. Gilles Peterson is born in 1964 in France, resides in London and does much more than just dj-ing; he collects records, owns a record label, is a broadcaster and he he has been associated with the careers of amongst others Erykah Badu and Jamiroquai. He started off in the ‘80’s in the pirate radio movement in South London and is currently a worldwide legend. 

Since 2009 he has been collaborating with Havana Club to bring the best of Havana’s musical talent to an international audience through album production, live performances and much more. The Havana Cultura project tours all around the world with Gilles Peterson’s Havana Cultura Band, featuring some of today’s best Cuban musicians and artists (Check all the artists from A to Z HERE ) Taking modern Cuban music (that’s a combination of classical Cuban music mixed with jazz, son, salsa, rumba, reggaeton, hip-hop, and timba; totally danceable and completely “my thing”…) out of the studio and onto the dance floor, Gilles Peterson teamed up with Havana Cultura to present Havana Cultura Remixed in 2009, a double album of tracks from his previous album re-imagined by some of the world’s hottest DJs, recorded in the historic Havana studio Egrem and featuring more than 15 rising stars of the Cuban music scene. The 2nd cd was released on November 14 2011.

The kickoff of the European tour recently took place on November 17 last in Amsterdam, and for me it has been one of the best parties of the year.  After Amsterdam London, Paris, Berlin and Istanbul were next.

The Sugar Factory in Amsterdam (yes, it used to be a sugar factory,) has been one of my favourite places to go out to ever since I started going out, and it still has its charm. The concert was held over there and it was super intimate. The band was great, especially Danay, rapper/singer, who lost her voice right before the concert, was amazing. I felt so bad for her, but she really tried to sing anyway. I was grateful she still gave us the chance to hear and see her. I was aware of the fact her voice was not optimal and yet I loved her singing so I cannot wait to hear her again. I even doubted to folllow the European tour and check out the concert last weekend in Berlin too…. I’m a fan!

Gilles Peterson created a unique concept with this project. I loved the fact that the concert took place in a nightclub-setting and turned into a wild party with good dj’s instead of having to sit down and listen to a concert. If the Havana Cultura project/band passes your neighbourhood, don’t doubt. Buy a ticket. Go dance. Sweat! I promise you won’t be dissapointed!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For some reason I can’t upload my own jpeg-pics…they will follow (but the quality is not great anyway).

More info;
Havana Cultura
Interview with/info on Danay Suarez
Sugar Factory

November 24, 2011

Cycling in Amsterdam

I’m a cyclist.

I don’t do competitions or long distance or anything like that, don’t get me wrong, but my bicycle is my way of transportation, I’m a true Amsterdammer.. I cycle about 350 days a year if I’m not abroad any of those. The other 15 are generally too icy or snowy. Wind, rain, cold, that’s all no problem to me. Even a little bit of snow or ice I can handle.

For the Nieuwe Amsterdammers (New Amsterdam-inhabitants) & tourists, I summarise the treaths/ hazards of cycling in Amsterdam below.  And for you Amsterdammers like me, it’s just a reminder so you don’t get reminded just as rockhard (it was actually more concrete-hard) as I just did.

  1. Trams, buses and taxi’s.
    In general they act rude, don’t care about you, drive through the red light and can’t break in time ’cause of their speed.
  2. Tramrails.
    The wheels of your bike almost perfectly fit into the tramrails. You get the wheels in, but before you get them out you’re on the floor (That’s exactly what just happened to ME, an experienced city-of-Amsterdam-cyclist).
  3. Black ice.
    For about 2 weeks a year, generally in December and/or January, we have the black ice thing. Black ice is ice on the roads that is not visible (CHECK here for a much more clear Wiki-explanation)  But it’s there. Killing!
  4. Girls with skirts.
    Foreigners are always amazed. I always try to not be one of them. Seriously; Dutch girls all ages wear short skirts on their bicycle and this can be a bit distracting.

So… be careful, ok? (Guess this whole article is more meant for me than for you) I’m on the lookout for a new bicycle now..after fixing, my Hummer might last a bit longer but I guess tomorrow I’ll travel by tram and my Hummy probably had his best days.

So to cheer us up here’s a golden oldie. Funny fact; I’ve never seen  this version of the clip before, I guess I was too young…


November 21, 2011

Feel Good musicheta

fog…darkness…stress.. you know.

Sometimes you NEEEED to listen to some feel-good-musicheta to pimp your mood. What do YOU listen to then?

Here’s my new favourite;


I’m pretty proud I found a great song not yet posted on my favourite blog Gypsylyrics, but I’m not as good as Mr (mrs??) Gipsylyrics. Come on, my friend, do what you’re good at; Who’s that singer? What are the lyrics? Where’s the song from?  Can you find a clip?

November 21, 2011

Conscious colouring; natural and plant based hair colouring

I’ve always loved experimenting with different hair- styles and colours, but for a couple of years I’ve stuck to my own colour, ‘cause I had my doubts about the standard chemical ways of colouring. I recently met Dianne te Mebel, director and owner of the Instituut Haar & Gezondheid (Institute for Hair & Health) in Amsterdam. The Instituut Haar & Gezondheid is one of few salons in Amsterdam and even The Netherlands, which aims to use as much natural products as possible and integrate this in anything they do. Ever since Diane was young, she has a passion for nature, which she decided to incorporate into her profession. She developed herself as an expert in natural and plant based hair colouring.

I’ve always thought that to colour my dark hair,  the only way was de- colouring with ammoniac and then dying with chemical colours. Dianne dared me to test otherwise. She said that not only she could naturally add a hint of colour to my hair, but also promised to revitalise and regenerate my hair, to give it a “healing” treatment to prepare myself for winter. Perhaps, just like me, you don’t know too much about natural and plant based hair colouring? The ladies of the Instituut Haar & Gezondheid, definitely know their field of work and took their time to make me feel comfortable and inform me about anything I was interested in and more.

So.. well.. then what is natural and plant based hair colouring exactly?

The base is henna. Henna is a plant (a shrub actually, called Lawsonia Inermis, more info HERE ), with leaves that contain a tannin dye molecule. This molecule is called Lawson, and  is released when the leaves are pulverised, acidified and made into a paste. This paste can be applied to hair (or skin), to give it a deep, reddish brown stain, because it binds to keratin (that’s what the outer layer of our skin and hair is made of). The colours added to the henna, are extracted from parts of amongst others flowers, trees, and plants that are dried and pulvarised until powder. For example coffee, onion peel, blue wood, cinnamon, hazelnut, rhubarb, salvia, tea, marigold, grains, elderberries and birch bark  are commonly used. Before the colouring- process, the hair is first washed with a mild shampoo to open the hair scales (yes, just like the ones a fish has..), so the pigment can go in between. In my case the hair was washed with a shampoo of Pure Pact (Over HERE you can read my introduction to Pure Pact). When the hair is dried, the hair scales close and keep the pigment inside. The colour will stay in the hair for about 6 to 8 weeks. By washing the colouring, it will slowly get more vague, here for there  will not be any visible outgrow like with chemical hair colouring. Natural hair colouring does not change the colour of your hair, so being a brunette and becoming a blonde, is not possible (but if your hair is grey, you can become a blonde again with the help of marigold!). If you have some grey hairs, as effect of the colouring you’ll get highlights instead. Plant based hair colouring is transparent, it forms a layer around the hair instead of penetrating it. You will keep your own hair colour with a nuance in the colour. From solely natural resources, 40 nuances are possible. By repeating the process of colouring regularly, the colour will become deeper and more intense.

Dianne loves nature and the environment. While working in her hair salon, she realised that even if she was using natural products, in the process of colouring the hair was being packed with tin foil, which was trashed after use. It’s necessary to keep the hair warm after one applies the colouring, so it attaches better to the hair. This caused Dianne to think about a more sustainable way for this process, after which she invented and developed the sustainable heat cap for colouring. With this cap she got nominated for Duurzame Dinsdag 2011, where the countries’ best sustainable ideas are put in a suitcase and offered to the cabinet in order to create more awareness.

All over the world there are millions of women that colour their hair. Many of them do this themselves, at home. Natural and plant based hair colouring is completely safe and simple when you have the right ingredients and tools, so Dianne did a lot of research, imported products and developed a starting package to make it possible for you to create your own natural hair colouring and dye your hair in the comfort of your own home. The package comes in 15 different nuances, but you can also get in touch with her to create a colour combination of your choice, or pass by the Instituut Haar & Gezondheid to get advised, ask questions and pick up a personalised package. Over HERE you can order the package.  A starting package costs € 47.50,– (exclusive €2.30,– for delivery in The Netherlands) and consists of; a bag of colouring, a sustainable heat cap, and enamel bowl, a wide paintbrush, a twine of cotton wool and a manual. The package fits through your mailbox.

Check out a small introduction & explanation clip over here; 

When I visited the salon, the ladies made me a personalised mix of auburn, mahogany and henna colore. The nuances in my hair are mostly visible outside in daylight. Indoors, besides the exception of a very attentive individual, it’s only myself who notices the colour difference. BUT, even after having seriously neglected my split ends, a summer of sea and sun, living in a city with plenty of exhausts, as well as having often coloured my hair chemically in the past, my hair is obviously revitalised. It’s voluminous, it’s shiny, it feels soft and it looks healthy. I LOVE IT!  I’m already looking forward to my next treatment and curious to how my hair will be when the colouring gets more intense and deeper!

Have you ever coloured your hair? Are you conscious about what hair and beauty products you use? Are you aware that natural products are better for you than chemical based products?

Starting package natural hair colouring

Starting package natural hair colouring

Thx 2 Wiki.
For more info, personalised advise or to order the starting package; CLICK HERE
Questions on natural and plant based hair colouring? Ask them to experts on a specialised forum; HERE 
VERY SOON the brand new webshop of Instituut Haar en Gezondheid will be online, I’ll keep you updated of course. ‘Till then;

November 10, 2011

The Netherlands’ most pure restaurant; Natuurlijk.

Lisette Kreischer (Check HERE my previous article about her ), organised and thus invited me to the election of the The Puur Restaurant Week (Pure Restaurant Week), which took place yesterday in Restaurant Proef in the Westerpark in Amsterdam. The election took place for the 3rd time and there are 324 participating restaurants. Proef has been founded 7 years ago by Marije Vogelzang and Piet Hekker in Rotterdam (he’s also founder of the Bakkerswinkel, which is just like Proef situated in the park). They moved to Amsterdam in 2006 and since last month Marije focuses on her work as a designer and Piet is running the restaurant on his own now. The restaurant looks industrial, cool and yet warm like a homey livingroom.

The audience was a mix of amongst other restaurant-owners, culinary journalists, biological ingredient suppliers, sponsors, bloggers and writers and other foodies. At 15.00h the guests received a welcome drink. Rabarbarella is a cocktail which reminded me of a smoothie, it had a beautiful texture and a very girlish-pretty-pink-colour, consisting of rhubarb, banana and  a hint of… vodka. The meeting started with an introduction by Jeannette van Mullem, the initiator of the Puur Restaurant Week, with a welcome-word and an explanation of the Puur Restaurant Week. All participating restaurants offer a 3 course honest, fair and pure menu. The Ambassador of this one-week-lasting event; cook and tv- maker Ramon Beuk, was unfortunately not present, but we were shown a short movie he made to promote the week, check below (in Dutch);

Jeannette told us; “I hope the culinary journalists present, will spread the word about the Puur Restaurant Week. Everyone should know about this election and about the Pure Week and about how honest and pure the nominated pure restaurants are. While showing a Powerpoint presentation, she informed the audience more in-debt about the the Puur Restaurant Week and also pictures were shown of the dishes the jury-members had tasted. These dishes will be the same dishes you can eat when you visit and choose the pure menu! The participating restaurants were assessed by questionnaires filled in by guests and the goals was to pick out the 5 best, but the jury had such a tough job they decided to make it 6. All the conditions of the Puur Restaurant Week had to be taken into account; biological ingredients, fair-trade food and sustainably caught fish; also the menus  were evaluated on flavour, quality and presentation of the dish. The jury consisted of Jeannette van Mullem, Jeroen Thijssen, culinary journalist of Dutch newspaper Trouw, the Chief editor of Misset Horeca; Martine Zuil, Chief editor of Dutch foodie magazine Delicious; Makkie Mulder and of course the ambassador of the week; Ramon Beuk. During the event we were offered fairtrade, organic and sustainably prepared drinks and snacks. I tested a banana-beer… very interesting but perhaps more suitable for a tropical beach than a fall day in Amsterdam.

The nominees were;

  • Aangenaam in Haarlem. The jury was impressed by a quinoa salad.  Aangenaam is the Dutch word for agreeable, pleasant, pleasing and the jury said that that’s exactly what their dinner in this place was.
  • De Culinaire Werkplaats from Amsterdam (The Culinary Workplace; See my previous article about De Culinaire Werkplaats HERE). Eric Meurs and Marjolijn Wintjes were the only restaurant-owners who could unfortunately not attend this event. De Culinaire Werkplaats is a restaurant where you experience food, where you learn about food, where food and art are one.
  • Fifteen in  Amsterdam prepared a bruschetta with tomatoe, olive oil and basilicum. This place, founded by Sarriel Taus, cooks tasty, is sociable and sustainable according to the judges.
  • In Merkelbach in Amsterdam, Jeanette herself was the lucky jury-member to have dinner and she tried seabass, puree of parsnip, “oerwortel”  (which is translated as prehistoric carrot, but I have no idea if that is also the English name) and pancetta. She said this place has an elegant way of cooking.
  • Natuurlijk in Egmond presented a loin beef carpaccio with old cheese, pineseeds and applesirup. The judge (Dutch newspaper Trouw culinairy journalist Jeroen Thijssen) described this place as Ridder in de orde van duurzaamheid  (In English this would be translated as “Knight in the order of Sustainability”, derived from The Order of Orange-Nassau, in Dutch: Orde van Oranje-Nassau, which is a military and civil order of The Netherlands, created on April 4 1892 by the Queen regent Emma of The Netherlands, acting on behalf of her under-age daughter Queen Wilhelmina.
  • De Veldkeuken (The Fieldkitchen) in Culemborg, presented their assigned judge with bread with seeds, goat-cheese, walnuts and honey. The judgement was that the restaurant is very special on a very special spot.  A pearl in Culemborg, situated next to the river the Lek.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The winner was Natuurlijk in Egmond aan Zee. Natuurlijk means natural or of course. Natuurlijk took the concepts of sustainable, fair trade and biological and presented them in an approachable way. They stimulate sustainability in every way and are very accesible. The winners Niels en Mirjam Gouda,who opened their restaurant only 7 months ago, and the other nominees, received awards and of course great fame and publicity. The owner of winning Natuurlijk mentioned her restaurant is only open for 7 months. I saw on their website that on top of the food the offer some extra’s I’m definitely interested in! As a goodbye we received a pure bonbon made by Van chocolade. On their website I see they make chocolates from amongst others salvia, wasabi and even gorgonzola. Wow. I’ll definitely keep you updated about my opinion on those!

What do you think of the Puur Restaurant Week? Would you go? Did you try any of these restaurants? What was your experience?

More info;
Lisette Kreischer has got a new website and it’s gorgeous;
All about & to make reservations Puur Restaurant Week
Restaurant Natuurlijk in Egmond aan Zee
Restaurant Proef in Amsterdam
Restaurant Aangenaam in Haarlem
De Culinaire Werkplaats
Fifteen Amsterdam
Restaurant Merkelbach in Amsterdam
Restaurant de Veldkeuken in Culemborg
Van chocolade

November 3, 2011


Sounds cool, doesn’t it?

Chuka Wakame, Japanese seaweedsalad, is my newest love.

Already for months actually, but the more I eat it, the more I love it. I try not to think that it could be nucleair, because the seagrass mainly comes from Japan. But hey, so does my sushi and I can’t say no to that either. The one Japanese thing I’m not ready to eat yet is the Blowfish or Fugu (Here@Wiki). I’ll have to be mentally prepared for that. In Japan there’s a saying:

To throw away life, eat blowfish.

Well, the tomb of the Fifth Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Ti was engraved with the puffer’s bloated image. The Bible warned against eating fish without fins and scales, like the Red Sea puffer. The fish is loaded with a nerve toxin 500 times deadlier than cyanide. BUT according to a JapaneseFugu-chef, the taste is

as subtle as the fragrance of spring rain dripping upon a stone.

Hmmm makes me wonder. I wonder how I’d describe the taste. Okay. One day I’ll hope to be brave enough to report you about my Fugu-experience.

Are YOU daring enough to try the blow- or fugu fish? Did you ever try? How would you describe the flavour?


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For now, I’ll stick to Wakame. (Here@Wiki)
Wakame (ワカメ,wakame), Undaria pinnatifida, or Miyeok (Hangul: 미역) in Korean, is a sea vegetable, or edible seaweed. It has a subtly sweet flavour and is most often served in soups and salads. In China, it is called qúndài cài (裙带菜).[7] Chinese production is concentrated around Dalian. In Korea, it is called miyeok (미역)[7] and used in salads or soup such miyeokguk. In French, it’s called “fougère des mers”. In English,it can be called “sea mustard”. Sea-farmers have grown wakame forhundreds of years in Korea and Japan.

Wakame fronds are green and have a subtly sweet flavour and slippery texture. The leaves should be cut into small pieces as they will expand during cooking. In Japan and Europe, wakame is distributed either dried or salted, and used in soups (particularly miso soup), and salads (tofu salad), or often simply as a side dish to tofu and a salad vegetable like cucumber. These dishes are typically dressed with soya sauce and vinegar/rice vinegar.

Chuka wakame, also known as seaweed salad, is a popular side dish at sushi restaurants. Literally translated, it means “sesame seaweed”, as sesame seeds are usually added to the recipe.

Health Benefits
Studies conducted at Hokkaido University have found that a compound in wakame known as fucoxanthin can help burn fatty tissue.[2] Studies have shown that fucoxanthin induces expression of the fat-burning protein UCP1 that accumulates in fat tissue around the internal organs. Fucoxanthin from edible seaweed, Undaria pinnatifida, shows antiobesity effect through UCP1 expression in white adipose tissues. Mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is usually expressed only in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and a key molecule for metabolic thermogenesis to avoid an excess of fat accumulation. However, there is little BAT in adult humans. Therefore, UCP1 expression in tissues other than BAT is expected to reduce
abdominal fat.

In Oriental medicine it has been used for blood purification, intestinal strength, skin, hair, reproductive organs and menstrual regularity. Wakame contains a lot of calcium,
eggwhites, kalium and magnesium to keep the bones strong. It also contaiuns the following vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 & C.

In Korea, miyeokguk is popularly
consumed by women after giving birth as miyeok contains a high content of calcium and iodine, nutrients that are important for nursing new mothers. Many women consume it during the pregnancy phase as well. It is also traditionally eaten on birthdays for this reason, a reminder of the first food that the mother has eaten and passed on to her
newborn through her milk, thus bringing good fortune for the rest of the year.

Wakame is also used in topical beauty treatments.

If you can find the seaweed–usually packed in salt (soak, rinse, drain) try this dressing:
Dressing for Wakame Salad (from Japanese Cookbook). No wakame? Try this dressing with cucumber!
for 1-1/2 cup fresh wakame seaweed
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Japanese chili pepper powder
1/2 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger root, peeled and chopped

Wash salt off fresh wakame seaweed and soak for about 5 minutes. Chop into 1-inch pieces. If you use dried seaweed, soak it in water for about 20 minutes, remove the hard parts, and chop into 1-inch pieces.

Combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Toss with wakame just before serving. Garnish with chopped ginger.


Thank you  Laboratory of Biofunctional Material Chemistry, Division of Marine Bioscience, Japan & Wikipedia

November 1, 2011

Puur Restaurant Week

Puur Restaurant Week

Puur Restaurant Week

The Puur Restaurant Week (The Pure Restaurant Week), is a week in which more than 300 restaurants in The Netherlands offer a “pure” menu next to their regular menu as well, in which biological, fairtrade and  sustainably caught fish play a central role. In this week the price of the menu is not relevant,but the story behind the products is. The Puur Restaurant Week takes place in The Netherlands from 14 until 20 November 2011.

On November 9 the election of The Netherlands most pure Restaurant will happen, and I will keep you updated about that! (Thx again, Lisette! )

OOOow ooops and Happy , beautiful, healthy & tasty birthday Lisette ( &!/veggieinpumps )!!!

Don’t know who Lisette is? WHAT? You haven’t read my articles.
Check this one out;

More info;

All the participating resturants;

November 1, 2011

Election of lesbICOONingin 2011

Stichting OndersteBoven, Foundation UpsideDown in English, was founded in 2006, because most gay societies were not aiming their initiatives at women. OndersteBoven wanted to change this. Thefoundation aims to encourage the social acceptance women and in particular of lesbian and bisexual women. To achieve this, OndersteBoven tries to make these
women “visible”.

OndersteBoven initiates and stimulates scientific research and organises projects and activities connected to themes connected to the above. Such as e.g.  De Trotse Lesboot (The Proud
Les boat) during the Gay Pride, initiating a LesBian Pride, the introduction of the LesbIcoon (Lesbian Icon) and the election of the LesbICOONingin (Lesbian Icon Queen).

Lesbian Icones are women who are an example for other women with LesBian feelings. You don’t have to be famous to be or become a LesbIcoon. The LesbICOONingin from The Netherlands distinguishes herself from other LesbIconen by the way she expresses her sex and raises awareness for women with lesbian feelings. Previous crownholders were Riek Stienstra (2007) and Anya Wiersma (2010).

Until November 15 you can vote for the LesbICOONingin of 2011. If your (Dutch) Lesbian Icon is not on the list, you can add her too. Click HERE to vote (In Dutch)

The fresh LesbICOONingin of 2011 will receive her crown on December 14 in Amsterdam, at the opening of ProGay’s Pink Christmas  and the relaunch of Zij aan Zij (Zij aan Zij is the first Dutch magazine specificly for lesbian and bisexual women and ofcourse bi-curious women as they’re called in “the” scene).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Amsterdam is such an international city. Why are all these societies, magazines, foundations and companies trying to create awareness in Dutch only? What about all the interested expats, exchange students and other foreigners? Don’t we want them to be aware?

More info (Unfortunately you’ll have to be able to read Dutch) and relevant links;